Appeal court affirms Edeoga as authentic Labour Party candidate for Enugu gubernatorial election

By Chris Udochukwu

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, today Friday, 6th January 2023, set aside the judgment of Justice Evelyn Maha of the Federal High Court, Abuja and reinstated Hon Chijioke Edeoga as the gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party in the Enugu governorship race.

Edeoga’s nomination was set aside by the High Court upon a suit by Everest Nnaji claiming that he was excluded from the primary election.

In it’s judgment today, the Court of Appeal restored Edeoga as the authentic candidate of the Labour Party for the Enugu governorship race.

The Court of Appeal lambasted Justice Maha of the Federal High Court for going on a voyage of discovery. The court wondered how Justice Maha could have arrived at such a strange decision given the fact that the Supreme Court had passed several judgments on the issue of who is an aspirant entitled to bring an action.

The court wondered why the lower court entertained Everest Nnaji’s suit at all, since it was obvious that he lacked the locus standi to even bring the action and deemed the action of the judge as an unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of the Labour Party.

The Court of Appeal then ruled that even the respondent’s brief filed before it by Everest Nnaji’s lawyer was incompetent having been filed out of time.

The Court of Appeal adopted the four issues formulated by Barrister Alexander Obodo SAN, counsel to the Labour Party.

On the first issue, the court agreed with the submission of Alex Obodo SAN, that since Everest Nnaji did not participate in the primary election, he lacked the locus standi to challenge the outcome and that the lower court should have dismissed his suit.

Having held that Everest Nnaji lacked the standing to even bring the suit thereby robbing the court of jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal held that there was no need to waste their time in consideration of the other issues.

The Court therfore allowed the appeal, set aside the judgment of Justice Maha and affirmed Hon Chijioke Edeoga as the authentic candidate of the Labour Party for the Enugu State gubernatorial election.

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